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The word dedication is defined as the quality of being committed to a task or purpose.  There is no more accurate word to describe the New Orleans Dental Conference and the New Orleans Dental Conference/LDA Annual Session's, Mrs. Normalee Ward.  Mrs. Ward began her career with our organization in the 1970's and assumed the title of Executive Secretary of our local Conference in 1984 under Chairman, Dr. Tony Miranda.  In that role, she has persevered with our organization through two different Conference Executive Directors, 4 different Conference treasurers, 29 different Conference Chairmen and Chairwomen, 3 ADA Annual Sessions, and 2 hurricanes that caused the cancellation of conventions.

Words are not adequate to describe how blessed and grateful we are to have her as our employee for all these years, but more importantly, to have her as our dear friend.  There are few celebrities who get away with going by their first name only (Cher, Prince, Beyoncé, Shaq, Madonna).  But if you say "Normalee," nearly everyone in our organization knows about whom you are speaking.
 
In late 2014, the NODA Honors & Awards committee approached the Conference committee with an idea.  The committee agreed and, on January 5, 2015, adopted two resolutions.  First, that upon her retirement, Normalee Ward shall be named Executive Secretary emeritus.  Second, to commemorate the extraordinary contributions of one very special lady and forever recognize a woman that has dedicated a significant portion of her life to advancing the cause of this organization and our dental conference, commencing with the 2016 Conference, one speaker each year shall be designated with the recognition of "The Normalee Ward Distinguished Speaker."
 
Normalee Ward Distinguished Speaker
2016 -- Rosemary Bray
2017 -- Dr. Barbara Steinberg